To help “close the gap between knowledge and action”, the American Stroke Association (ASA) is launching a culturally relevant Spanish-language campaign named ‘Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral’ to raise awareness among Spanish-dominant audiences around the use and understanding of RÁPIDO—a Spanish acronym for stroke warning signs.
According to ASA stroke survey data, only 39% of Hispanic-Latino consumers said they were familiar with the English stroke warning sign acronym, FAST, and only 42% could correctly name two stroke warning signs unaided.
Hispanic-Latino adults in the USA have a higher risk of stroke due to unmanaged risk factors, limited access to healthcare, lower health literacy rates, cultural barriers and socioeconomic determinants of health. That is according to a press release from the ASA, a division of the American Heart Association (AHA). Hispanic-Latino stroke patients also have longer delay times to hospital arrival than non-Hispanic stroke patients, as well as greater stroke severity and poorer outcomes following stroke.
Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral aims to increase awareness of RÁPIDO, address health disparities and ultimately improve stroke outcomes in the Hispanic-Latino community. The acronym is constructed to teach the five warning signs of stroke and the need to call 911 for quick medical response.
The ASA seeks to “empower” the Hispanic-Latino community to learn the stroke warning signs and what to do using the RÁPIDO acronym. This approach considers the community’s “unique cultural and linguistic needs”, facilitating better comprehension and response to stroke symptoms, according to the association’s recent release. The easy-to-remember acronym stands for:
- Rostro caído (face drooping)
- Alteración del equilibrio (loss of balance, or lack of coordination)
- Pérdida de fuerza en el brazo (arm weakness)
- Impedimento visual repentino (sudden vision difficulty)
- Dificultad para hablar (slurred or strange speech)
- Obtén ayuda, llama al 911 (get help, call 911)
Projections show that, by 2030, the prevalence of stroke among Hispanic men will increase by 29%, the release continues. The ASA’s adoption and promotion of RÁPIDO represent “significant steps” in addressing the lack of awareness of the increased risk of stroke faced by Hispanic-Latino people in the USA—a group that is already “disproportionately impacted”.
“RÁPIDO is a tool that can help save lives,” said José Biller (Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, USA), an ASA volunteer expert. “The language barrier is among the most significant barriers to healthcare access and quality. Understanding which Spanish acronym resonated best with Spanish-speaking communities addresses this barrier while increasing stroke awareness and improving outcomes for all.”
The RÁPIDO acronym was developed by a group of stroke experts at University of Texas Health (UTHealth) in Houston, USA, many of whom are also ASA volunteers. The association claims to have conducted scientific research to test the acronym’s effectiveness among Hispanic-Latino people who speak only or predominantly Spanish.
“The research to identify which Spanish acronym worked best for the Hispanic-Latino community was critical because the acronym reminds people what to look for and to ‘act fast’ when they are having a stroke, or see someone having one,” said Jennifer Beauchamp (Cizik School of Nursing/UTHealth Houston Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, Houston, USA), an ASA volunteer expert who led a team of nursing students that came up with the idea for the acronym. “These symptoms are sudden and must be recognised quickly for the person to receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.”